Bush's covenant with the American West

Wednesday, January 31, 2001 at 1:00am

President George W. Bush recognizes the division in our country and seeks to mend it. To affect the noble goal of increasing national unity, which he proclaimed in the inaugural address, Mr. Bush will have to reexamine his agenda and look for areas in which to undertake unifying actions. One area that offers great opportunities for such acts is the environment.

Environmentalism is an integral aspect of the GOP heritage. At the beginning of the 20th century President Theodore Roosevelt established five national parks, 16 national monuments and 53 wildlife refuges.

President Richard Nixon, in his 1968 speech to the Republican Convention, said that he would clean up the nation's air and water; the Clean Air and Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency are major pillars of his environmental legacy.

Recent Republican presidents have failed to keep faith with the GOP's environmentalist heritage. President Ronald Reagan, in the person of his secretary of the Interior, James Watt, seemed to be at war with the environment.

Former President George H. Bush, scornful of Al Gore's legitimate concern over the depletion of the ozone layer, dismissed Mr. Gore as

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